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Global Market for Geothermal Continues Upswing

Linda Hardesty

geothermal chart

The Geothermal Energy Association’s new report, 2013 Geothermal Power: International Market Overview, identifies 70 countries moving forward with nearly 700 geothermal power projects.

Some of the report highlights are:

  • By the end of 2013 the global geothermal market is expected to operate 12,000 MW of geothermal capacity on-line.
  • There are 11,766 MW of new capacity in early stages of development or under construction in 70 countries and territories around the world. Additionally, developers are actively engaged with and exploring 27 GW of geothermal resources globally that could potentially develop into power plants over the next decade.
  • This year, some of the first demonstration Enhanced Geothermal System (EGS) projects provided electricity to grids in Australia and the United States.
  • Countries such as Uganda, France, Tanzania, Chile, and Rwanda have geothermal projects under construction or in the latter stages of development and will have their first operational geothermal power plants within the next few years.

The report also provides profiles on 21 countries and five continents, including these highlights:

Kenya is one of the fastest growing geothermal markets in the world. Kenya’s government is moving a substantial amount of resources into building up its geothermal infrastructure. Currently, 296 MW of the over ~1,000 MW of geothermal under development in Kenya are physically under construction. If all projects are completed on time Kenya will lead the world with substantial additions to their geothermal infrastructure over the next decade.

Most of Costa Rica’s geothermal resources rest in national parks, leaving substantial regulatory barriers to its development. Despite the location of Costa Rican’s geothermal resources, the government plans to introduce legislation that would open the Rincon de la Vieja National Park in Guanacaste for geothermal project development, a controversial proposal to environmentalists. Even so, the country’s top political leaders acknowledge climate change as an issue that will diminish the capabilities of their hydroelectric power plants, which accounts for most of Costa Rica’s energy production.

Since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2012 the Japanese people and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) are looking for clean and disaster-free alternatives to nuclear energy and are deregulating many previous burdensome barriers to geothermal development. Officials are looking to shorten lead-time for development, a significant step to accelerated geothermal development.



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